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Monday, December 31, 2012
Hyundai Sun Bowl keys

By Andrea Adelson

Here are three keys for Georgia Tech in the Hyundai Sun Bowl against USC.

1. Slow down USC's receivers. The Jackets face their biggest challenge of the season on pass defense, going against some of the most talented receivers in the nation. But keep an eye on Biletnikoff winner Marqise Lee, who leads the nation with 112 receptions and has eight 100-yard receiving games out of 12 this year. Lee twisted his knee during practice Saturday, and coach Lane Kiffin would only say he is "hopeful" his star will play. On the other side, the Trojans feature Robert Woods, who combined with Lee for 2,493 yards and 25 touchdown catches this season. While Matt Barkley is out with a shoulder injury, there is no doubt starting quarterback Max Wittek will look to his wideouts to help get the offense going. Rod Sweeting and Louis Young are going to have their hands full at the cornerback spot. For safety help, the Jackets take a big loss with starter and leading tackler Isaiah Johnson out. Jemea Thomas will have to take on a bigger role.

2. Get Orwin Smith loose. There is no doubting how explosive Smith can be when healthy. The problem for the Jackets is that he has not been healthy in their past two games, both losses. But he is ready to go against USC and should provide a spark for an offense in need of some big plays. Smith is averaging 9 yards per carry this season, and is on the verge of setting the school record for highest yards per carry average for a career. He leads all players on the team in "big plays," with 13 that have gone between 20-39 yards.

3. Be consistent. Inconsistency on offense and defense has been the biggest problems for Georgia Tech all season. We have rarely seen a full four quarters from this team, a big reason why it sits at 6-7. There is no better opportunity than to play their best in the Sun Bowl, with a chance to finish at .500 and help Paul Johnson get his first bowl win in five tries. USC is less than enthused to be in this game, as several players have caused a stir on Twitter with their comments. Georgia Tech has a huge opportunity in front of it, now we see if the Jackets take advantage.